An active shooter is a person who is actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.
An active shooter can strike anytime and the events are unpredictable and rapidly changing. Most active shooter situations only last 10-15 minutes.
How you respond to an active shooter will be dictated by the specific circumstances, bearing in mind that there could be more than one shooter in the same encounter. In general, you will have three types of responses, depending upon the circumstances.
- If the shooter is far enough away that you can escape the area, do so.
- Leave your belongings behind.
- Keep your hands visible in case law enforcement officials arrive.
- If you escape, call 911 or locate law enforcement officers and provide any information about the shooter including:
- Last known location of the shooter
- Number of shooters
- Physical description of shooter(s)
- Number and type of weapons held by shooters
- Number and location of potential victims
- If you cannot safely exit the area, hide in an area outside of the shooter’s view.
- Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors.
- Silence your cell phone.
- Call 911 when it is safe to do so
- As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger, act with physical aggression against the shooter.
- Attempt to incapacitate the shooter by striking or throwing objects at him/her.
When Law Enforcement Arrives
- Recognize that the first responsibility of law enforcement is to stop the shooter. Emergency assistance to victims will be secondary.
- Remain calm and follow instructions. Avoid pointing, screaming or yelling.
- Put down any items in your hands (bags, jackets, phone, etc.)
- Raise your hands and spread your fingers. Keep hands visible at all times.
- Avoid quick movements toward officers, including holding on to them for safety.